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44 of 49 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just keep recording......
This one's a bit of a curate's egg for me to be honest.

I've been searching for a really scary horror film that creeps me out the same way classic Asian horror films and "Blair Witch" did. I've been true-fright-free now for a couple of years and the current celluloid trend for questionable torture-porn/gore-no is something I deliberately choose to avoid...
Published on 17 Aug 2008 by G. Thomas

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars BETTER THAN QUARANTINE
To say this is the movie on which quarantine would be incorrect. Quarantine is a remake of this movie, down to the last scene. I wish I had never seen Quarantine before I watched this film as it ruined it. What makes this movie better is that there is less lame build up time at the fire department. I have a prejudice against these stupid cheap hand held movies. Having...
Published 14 months ago by The Movie Guy


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44 of 49 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just keep recording......, 17 Aug 2008
By 
G. Thomas (Canterbury UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Rec [DVD] (DVD)
This one's a bit of a curate's egg for me to be honest.

I've been searching for a really scary horror film that creeps me out the same way classic Asian horror films and "Blair Witch" did. I've been true-fright-free now for a couple of years and the current celluloid trend for questionable torture-porn/gore-no is something I deliberately choose to avoid.
Anyway, after several recommendations I arrived at "Rec"

Yes, admittedly the PoV thing is generally overdone. Personally I can never see any reason for a character continuing to film in situations of fear and terror and as we see more films using this technique the more tenuous it becomes as a device. Surely it would be the last thing on your mind but finally here we have a film where the continuation of filming is 90% believable. "Rec" starts as a documentary until things start to go downhill. The inclusion of real TV presenter Manuela Velasco as the main character (Angela) is clever but obviously means little to those of us who don't watch Spanish television.
As events take a turn for the worse, Angela's insistent demands (for the unseen Pablo) to "keep filming" are reason enough to keep the PoV going. Later on several static, accidental and incidental shots reinforce this illusion effectively and later still the camera becomes a tool rather than just our surrogate eye.

So having effectively conquered the "keep filming" issue Rec is free to indulge itself and to crank up the tension. Sadly (for me) after an intial peak I found the survival horror element slightly less than original and in danger of becoming "same old, same old". I actually caught myself thinking "oh no..not xxxxxxx again".
It's probably all my fault for being too old and having seen far too many films of this genre already.
At one point the film became a hybrid of that genre and the brilliant "Right At Your Door" and I was immersed again until the inevitable "ten little indians" structure restablished itself and proceeded to whittle down the remaining cast members.

Now..... having said all this I must add...it's carried off with style, great ensemble (re)acting from an almost unknown cast and more importantly all done at a cracking pace. This pace is the film's trump card as far as I'm concerned. Yes I did experience deja-vu but the speed of events catapaults you past all this, without pause for breath, into the brilliant last 15-20 minutes where......

......finally the film began to properly scare me.
Growing trepidation, piecing together of plot elements and discovered clues you realize the horrid truth of the situation and then all of a sudden you catch a glimpse of....................well that would be telling.

The final section saved the film for me and is the major reason for four stars. Yet again proof that thinking for yourself and not-seeing is much better than the reliance upon blood and gore of the film's middle section.

So as I said earlier, a curate's egg.... good in parts...........and actually very, very good in some of them.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The pinnacle of the 'hand held horror craze', 14 Mar 2013
By 
M. Crossman (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Whilst the roots of the 'hand held horror' film can be traced back as far as Cannibal Holocaust it was The Blair Witch Project that kicked started the craze properly.
After the phenomenal success of BWP a slew of horror films such as Cloverfield, Paranormal Activity and Diary of The Dead littered the video stores but for me REC is the best of the bunch.
Don't be put off by the fact that it's Spanish and with subtitles (unless you understand fluent Spanish which means you should enjoy the film even more).
Whilst filmed on a budget it does not show and all of the cast perform superbly.
It's a short film (77 minutes) with a fairly slow build up but those final 20 minutes or so are quite terrifying.
Watched under the right circumstances (at night, with the lights off, the sound up loud and preferably on your own) this film will scare the crap out of you.
I watched it during the middle of the day and it still had me jumping and I'm a veteran horror film watcher of over 40 years.
Highly recommended. Just don't be tempted to watch the US remake entitled "Quarantine". The original version is far superior.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one of the best european horror films for a long time!, 27 Oct 2008
By 
P. Ponias (london) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Rec [DVD] (DVD)
spanish cinema has done it again and for once its not del toros work! pans labyrinth ,devils backbone and the orphanage were all v good, atmospheric and maybe disturbing at times, but were not proper horror films..
rec on the other hand is..
the reviewers who compare it, and find it weaker, than the romero films or the succesful 28 days/weeks later, dont realise what true horror films should be like and are younger in age and taste in my opinion!
u dont need litres of blood, and zombies to be eating people in every other scene, as u dont need torture nasties or slasher films, to define horror..
ok the film steals the hand held camera idea from the blair witch project, (wont even mention cloverfield) but the people who really know cinema, should also know that blair witch project, stole that idea from cannibal holocaust of the late 70s ..
great unknown cast, no music score at all (!) to great effect, superbly shot and suitably short in time - as the story really is v simple - this is arguably one of the best true horror films of the last few yrs.. up there with superb asian offerings as the ring, dark water, tale of 2 sisters, eye etc as well as works from dario argento, s king & j carpenter and of course the one and only blair witch, i believe its destined to become a classic.. dont miss it
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars BETTER THAN QUARANTINE, 11 Oct 2013
This review is from: Rec 1 [Blu-ray] [2007] (Blu-ray)
To say this is the movie on which quarantine would be incorrect. Quarantine is a remake of this movie, down to the last scene. I wish I had never seen Quarantine before I watched this film as it ruined it. What makes this movie better is that there is less lame build up time at the fire department. I have a prejudice against these stupid cheap hand held movies. Having said that, this one wasn't too bad as much of the film didn't have that stupid herky-jerky motion, i.e. it was professionally shot and in wide screen. If you watch this film and haven't seen Quarantine, don't bother, or vice-versa.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rec left me a wreck!, 3 Feb 2009
This review is from: Rec [DVD] (DVD)
Don't think about buying this film anymore, just do it! Although a slow start this film builds and builds to an intense climax that will leave you behind the sofa. I think this is probably the first spanish film I have seen but I will be looking for more now. Don't be put off by the subtitles, the acting is great and the charaters very watchable - especially the lovely Manuela Velasco who is very convincing in her role. This film will appeal to wide range of horror and suspense fans and not just those of the zombie genre.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Boring but brilliant?, 3 Nov 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Rec [DVD] (DVD)
REC in general is a good horror movie with parts that make you jump and some tense moments and I really like the POV camera movements, however for me it just takes too long before the real action starts and the plot moves forward. The one to one interviews, although perhaps used to allow the audience to get to know the characters better dragged on more than it should. All this said REC is deserving in the 4 stars i give it and no one should be put off by the language barrier and should definitely give it a chance.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars BLU-RAY REVIEW, 2 Oct 2010
By 
The usual suspect (2nd aisle on the right, top shelf) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Rec 1 [Blu-ray] [2007] (Blu-ray)
I've seen Rec around several times so I finally took the plunge a bought it on the strength of the comments on the cover.

Not a bad short story actually. Not fantastic either but I'm happy enough for it to have a place in my collection. Basically, it's another amateur filming style chiller ala Cloverfield, Paranormal Activity, Blairwitch only this time, it's two person documentary team trying to follow firemen on a typical night. Of course, it goes a bit wrong and zombies get involved. It happens all the time...

It is quite scary in places but I didn't find it had the same full-on effect that Paranormal Activity had on me. Again, watching this in a darkened room too. It doesn't quite live up to the 'The scariest film ever' claim from the ever fantastic, News of the World, in my book.

On the Blu-Ray front, picture quality is good but the real strength comes from the use of HD audio, it's fantastic. Very immersive.

Subs: English

Languages: Spanish DTS-HD Master 5.1
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5.0 out of 5 stars Scary, 11 Aug 2009
By 
N. Lake "Lakey" (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Rec [DVD] (DVD)
I hate horror films because they never scare me, cheap 'jumps' aside they rarely provoke any reaction. This did! I was pretty scared for most of it.

Ok, there are some 'cheap' jumps but the whole atmosphere is pretty scary on the whole and I was very happy to be genuinely frightened for a change. The POV worked, it's a bit throwaway to just say its a Blair Witch rip off, (that wasn't very scary I didn't think) just because the same technique is used.

The POV really added to the creepy and confused feel to the film, which I know some people have taken as a critisicm, trying to justify every action/reaction and pulling every last scene apart etc. That misses the point for me and instead it helped absolve me of being too analytical, thus promoting my enjoyment.

Plot holes, yes but then there aren't many semi-supernatural films that don't and there certainly weren't enough to ruin my enjoyment.

Not seen the remake, don't want to, I think it's revealing that on average it has one less star than this film. The subtitles; I always think they help in horror films as they draw your attention in more. Overall would definitely recommend as a scary film!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THIS is how it's done, 14 Oct 2008
By 
This review is from: Rec [DVD] (DVD)
There's a review here that said the best way to watch [Rec] is to know as little about it as possible. That's exactly right. Don't watch any trailers or read any spoilers. Stay as far away as possible from the remake. Just get a copy of this, turn the lights off and crap yourself for 80 minutes.

Remakes, sequels and kiddy horror can all take a running jump. This is horror at its finest.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nervous REC, 16 May 2009
By 
Eddie (Derbyshire) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Rec [DVD] (DVD)
If you're of a nervous disposition but enjoy watching scary films then REC could be just the ticket. In terms of content there's not much new here but as an exercise in technique, this film really works. The story is neatly contrived to retain all the action within one building, which helps no end in cranking up the tension by injecting a strong sense of entrapment and claustrophobia. The zombie aspect is nothing new of course, but here it's played down and doesn't go overboard with gore as the emphasis is on fear and panic. These build to staggering proportions. In any case it's not a `zombie film'.

The film-crew-filming-a-documentary idea isn't original either but after all, this is just a means to an end it's played out very convincingly but also contributes to the film's major flaw, ie how many cameramen would actually continue filming in a situation where their lives are at risk? But we have to live with that of course - better not to ask such questions. There's also a very strange episode where the camera records the tape rewinding. Hmmm.

The camerawork is frantic and it does take a while to adjust to but stick with it - once you are locked in it drags you through the building, upstairs, downstairs, through the lady's chamber, and doesn't let you go. This approach is becoming commonplace in films such as these and it doesn't always work. Blair Witch was probably the film which kicked it all off in mainstream cinema and that film worked extremely well, despite stories of viewers having to leave the cinema because they couldn't hack it. Unfortunately the technique has now found its way onto television and here is largely used in an arbitrary and ill-considered fashion, with the result that it looks amateurish and becomes very annoying and unwatchable. The main reason is that it is used out of context but with films like Blair Witch and REC the context is set up within the narrative which makes it both acceptable and effective, if not always easy to watch especially on a large screen. Because of its subjectivity, the camera simply sees and tries to make sense of that which would be seen be the viewer. The result is total involvement.

The last section, which offers an explanation for the goings-on, has a bit of a tacked-on feel to it and feels a little out of kilter with the rest of the film. Nevertheless, it provides the most startling and disturbing images. The performances here aren't Oscar winning, but they don't need to be and they are more than adequate.

I've often wondered how many people have been truly terrified when watching horror films and I mean truly terrified. There aren't really that many films out there that can do that but perhaps this one comes close. At the end of the day, this one is simply an exercise in generating fear and panic and if it doesn't work for you, then fair enough but if you've reviewed it and dismissed it out of hand, then I ask you this: What exactly do you want?
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